L&S Graduate Support Guarantee Requests

This document details the process of completing and submitting the request to extend graduate support guarantees.

Each January, L&S issues a call for requests to extend long-term support guarantees to incoming graduate students or continuing graduate students who were not previously given support guarantees.

Documents & Deadlines

Instructions for Support Guarantees Worksheet

Departments requesting to make long-term support guarantees to incoming (or continuing) graduate students should fill out the Support Guarantee Worksheet.

Departmental Details
Update the worksheet with basic details at the top: department name and names of preparer(s).

Guarantee Details & Trends
The following section asks for your departmental norms. Support Guarantee Offers
List the expected number of ongoing and new support guarantees for the 2021-22 academic year. Support Guarantee Cost Estimate
This table on the form calculates the total estimated costs for your guarantees. It compares the total possible cost if all offers are accepted versus an adjusted estimated based on the historical acceptance rate listed in the ‘Guarantee Details & Trends’ table.

Expected Support Tool (optional)
This is section is optional and can be used as a budget estimate for the upcoming academic year. This tool breaks out your commitment by semester by appointment level and dollars. The blank spreadsheet contains standard titles with  salary minima. You may adjust the rates or add rows for additional titles as necessary. The Fall Cost and Spring Cost columns calculate salary estimates (base rate/2 & total appt %). The Total Academic Year Cost column is the sum of the fall and spring columns.

Offer Letters 

Standard support guarantee offer letters linked are above. Support templates must be submitted to the College for approval if they differ from the templates (see 'Documents & Deadlines' above).

The provided standard guarantee support letter for new students allows department to vary type of appointments over the years in conjunction with departmental resources, need and student talents. It means that you promise a student support of some type (at a specified percentage level), but you are not required to make that a TA appointment or any other single type of support. Departments have often found this to be a helpful type of flexibility.

Continuing students need written assurance that you intend to continue existing support guarantee next year (provided they continue to perform well both academically and in any assigned duties).

Letters sent at this time can simply be a general assurance of support unless you know that the guarantee will be fulfilled by a particular type of support.

Requirements of Support Guarantee Offer Letters

Support guarantee offer letters must clearly state that in order for the guarantee to remain valid, the student must: ** All these elements must be included in the letter. If any of the conditions listed above are not met by the student, the guarantee will be voided.**

Length of Guarantee

Unless otherwise approved by Shirin Malekpour, the guarantee length for an incoming Ph.D. program graduate student is: Incoming Master's degree students would have the above periods as a maximum; shorter lengths would be determined by the length of the departmental criteria for satisfactory progress toward the degree for which the student is admitted.

Offer letters must be specific about the length of the guarantee and the requirements for satisfactory academic and work performance.

Offers of Appointment with No Guarantee

Under some limited circumstances you may offer incoming graduate students a one-year appointment, without a guarantee for future support. Both student and department need to be very clear on what is being offered so that students do not come here with a one-year offer and an unrealistic expectation of support beyond that. Our practice for many years has been to make such short-term offers only under controlled circumstances, and to use a letter that explicitly states that there is no guarantee of support beyond the appointment being offered.

One-year offers should not be used to "try out" a student; both satisfactory academic progress requirements and the probationary terms for TA and PA appointments should be used for this purpose.

Guarantees to Students who are Non-Native English Speakers

Departments must ensure that all potential non-native English speaking TAs have the requisite skills in English to be effective teachers. All departments are required by campus and Regent policy to have a plan in place for assessing the English proficiency of potential teaching assistants, and to see that they have demonstrated this proficiency before they are assigned classroom duties as teaching assistants. The responsibility for carrying out this policy resides at the department level, where the applicant materials are reviewed, and the teaching assistant assignments are made. Departments that do not use the SPEAK or TOEFL test scoring guidelines to determine eligibility for TA assignments are asked to submit detailed information about the English proficiency of each non-native English speaking TA. Please be aware that graduate students who are not qualified in English will not be allowed to serve as Teaching Assistants. For more information on university policies related to TA spoken English proficiency see: [Link for document 25268 is unavailable at this time.] 

International students on certain visas are required to verify that they have sufficient resources to live in the United States and that some assistantship stipends are not adequate for this purpose (see http://grad.wisc.edu/admissions/internationalfinancial). Visa regulations are such that the visa application and approval process for international students can be very lengthy. Please stay up to date on changes in this area via the International Student Services Office.

L&S Contacts

Questions about Graduate Support Guarantee offers should be directed to Shirin Malekpour, Associate Dean for Teaching & Learning Administration.

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